Board of Education Jan. 19

The new year is kicked off with a meeting for the Board of Education and new information is presented to the district.

The Huntley community gathered together to discuss various issues.

Courtesy of District 158

The Huntley community gathered together to discuss various issues.

By Ava Berardi

On Jan.19, The Huntley District 158 Board of Education held a regular closed meeting at 6 p.m. This meeting was the first of the new year and brought many surprises to the district. After the roll call, the board descended into the other room for their closed session.
At 7 p.m. the board began with superintendent Scott Rowe leading a memoir for the late Heineman Middle School teacher. “Coming off of winter break, Huntley 158 set a challenging start to 2023. We lost Heather Fedrick, a beloved physical education teacher at Heineman this past weekend. We’re struggling,” Rowe said. “[She was] another wonderful teacher that we all respected; and she leaves a legacy of positivity and love.”
The pledge of allegiance was led by a group of middle schoolers, and then the community began speaking about issues. An interesting issue was a middle school level special needs athletic program that mentioned how children needed to gain confidence and pride through these athletics.
The board wanted to speak about the Lame Duck House bill that gained a lot of attention across Illinois that wanted to mandate the national sex education for grades 8-12. Rowe also commented on the increase of the district’s chronic absenteeism.
Chronic absenteeism as defined by the Illinois law, as a student who misses 10% of school days within an academic year with or without a valid excuse. Strong academic behaviors, a culture of learning, and student involvement are factors in establishing healthy attendance patterns. These absences have a direct impact on student success.
A solution has been created with Huntley 158’s Response Team, which is made up of administrators, nurses, administrative assistants, counselors, social workers and all other staff, who can monitor attendance and areas of concern to both student and district concerns. This also included a variety of other solutions.
“Let’s not forget about the population of students who actually do their work independently at home, and their best learning is in-person at school and their absences have an effect on their grades and performances. Then there is that chunk that actually plugs in and learns like that.” Melissa Mairorino- Scheiblein, the chair of communications and community engagement said.
Rowe and a bunch of other teachers from both Huntley High School and Harvard High School had been tasked with connecting educators and business leaders to solve issues with the workforce and make sure students understand the opportunities available to them in McHenry County by using job shadows.
Jeff Rowlins was given a special shout-out for his special coordination skills for the orchestra and his large impact on the orchestra and music program at Huntley High School.
There was also an informational slideshow about the updates on the LIGHT Transition Center. The LIGHT program has many options to expand, such as option one, which was through a stand alone facility, or option two, to lease and buy Union Special’s property and return to Huntley High School. Option three was to expand and buy a new addition on Mackeben Elementary or Heineman Middle School, and option four would be to renovate the wing at Martin Elementary School. In conclusion, options one and two would be the most reasonable, but option two would be the most recommended course of action.
“If we run this on a parallel track, we have to wait till one falls out. But there is a point where my child is going to age out of this program. The question that we begin to see is ‘Is time more important than the building?’” William Gehern, chair of curriculum said.
There was a small update on the success and continuation of the IESA athletics programs that Marlowe and Heineman Middle School offer to students, the trauma department to help students who are struggling after the coronavirus, and the development of the electronic bus stock from the Transportation department officially coming on March 7.
This meeting helped cover a variety of issues from absent students and progress of various programs and developments within the district. Looking for past meetings, or to understand what transpired fully? Check out the district’s YouTube page for live videos.